Ian Shackleton

Archived: Posted January 19, 2014

A former military man from Lincolnshire who is now making a difference to the lives of vulnerable young people as a foster carer has backed a campaign which is looking to recruit more people to this vital role.

Ian Shackleton from Hemswell Cliff, made the plea for more people to meet a shortfall of 750 carers in the Yorkshire and Humberside region during Foster Care Fortnight.

Former RAF engineer Ian and his wife Hayley, 49, have been carers with FCA for more than four years.

Ian, who spent 33 years in the RAF, explained what inspired him and his wife to foster and spoke about how it has transformed both their lives and the lives of the young people in their care.

He said: “My wife retired as an accountant and wanted to do something completely different. I was unsure about fostering at the beginning but agreed to do respite foster care first to see how we took to it.

“I absolutely loved it and we looked after some super kids. The training we received from FCA also really prepared us for the task.

“We then had an emergency placement, which was originally supposed to be for two weeks, but we have now had them for three years and they are long term placements now.

“Despite my initial apprehension it has been a challenging but rewarding experience. Seeing the change in them both in that time has been amazing and so fulfilling. The children have gone from strength to strength. They are safe, healthy and happy which is the greatest bonus we could have.”

Ian said: “The first thing a foster carer needs is patience and understanding. You need the ability to understand children’s emotions and their difficulties as they may not be able to express them straight away.

“Our skill as foster carers is allowing them time to unravel that stuff and provide a caring and loving home for their future development.”

Ian and fellow Lincolnshire carer Kevin Stevens have been helping FCA’s preparations for Foster Care Fortnight by refurbishing the agency’s promotional trailer which will head out on a 10-stop UK car rally with 10 emblazoned Fiat 500s.

Ian said he enjoyed the ‘family feel’ of FCA and praised its unflinching support.

He added: “Overall the support from FCA has been exceptional. There have been moments of difficulty where we needed support and help understanding the children’s difficulties and it has been there.

“When I lost my dad recently FCA could not have been more supportive. The staff sent me a beautiful bunch of flowers and arranged cover when it was needed for the funeral.

“I am also a carer representative for my region and the fact that there is a community within FCA where there are carer forums and holidays that bring the FCA family together is wonderful and makes it a special organisation.”

How can we help?

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Phone us

Call us on 0800 023 4561 (lines open Monday - Thurs: 9am - 7pm, Fri: 9am - 6pm)

Fostering a child or young person is a big decision so we,re here to answer any questions you may have. Our friendly fostering advisors, many of whom are carers themselves, can talk you through everything you need to know about becoming a foster carer.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Call me back

Haven't got time to chat now? Leave your details and we'll call you back at a time that suits you:

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
  • Why do we need this? So we can email you a brochure.
  • Why do we need this? We appreciate that starting to foster is a big decision that needs careful consideration and you are likely to have questions. We’d like to help answer those questions.
  • Please enter your postcode to see news and events in you area
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

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